Ritchie Ritchie Rene Ritchie has been covering Apple and the personal technology industry for almost a decade. Editorial director for Mobile Nations, analyst for iMore, video and podcast host, you can follow him on Snapchat, Instagram, or Twitter @reneritchie.

On June 29, 2007 people were lining up in droves outside Apple Stores to be among the first to own a an iPhone!

It was a very different world back then. What few smartphones there were typically had small screens and hardware keyboards, locked the web in WAP and proxy, and a simple sticky notes app cost $30... if you could find it on one of the dozens of scattered online stores. The iPhone, by comparison wasn't a breath of fresh air, it was a breath of fresh experience.

Apple had worked for over two years on the Purple Experience Project: A capacitive touch interface that made direct manipulation feel like a reality, on inertial scrolling and rubber banding, pinch-to-zoom and cover-flow that made interaction not only intuitive but delightful. They'd worked to bring the real web to mobile. There was no 3G or GPS, no MMS or copy and paste — there wasn't even an App Store yet — but the impact was so great, the ramifications so obvious, most of us didn't care. Not six months earlier we'd seen Steve Jobs flow from music to a phone call to mail and the web and back, smoothly, charmingly, and we desperately wanted it for ourselves.

To say the iPhone changed everything isn't hyperbole. It's an acknowledgement of one of the most profound technological and cultural developments of the last decade. You have only to look at all the screens we interact with on a daily basis today to see how much of that is due to the hard, brilliant work of the iPhone team and what they accomplished.

To everyone who worked on iPhone, from concept to design to development, from shipping to sales to support — congratulations. Almost a decade and a billion devices later, you've defined a generation.

Happy 9th birthday, iPhone! Here's to exponentially more!

The iPhone didn't officially come to my neck of the woods until the second generation in 2008. That didn't stop me from buying an original iPhone anyway, despite the rigmarole required to get it and use it. I loved that black and aluminum beauty. It couldn't do everything my old Treo 680 or Treo Pro could do, but the way it did things was so profoundly better that I didn't care. It was evident, holding it in my hand, pushing the pixels around beneath the glass, that the iPhone was the future. I still have it and still treasure it to this day. What was your first iPhone, and your first reaction to it?